Friday, 11 December 2009

Tips for new riders #1

There are lots of little things you learn from riding motorcycles for 35 years. Things that have saved me from having innumerable accidents, and that you only find out yourself.

Here are a few:

When you pull up at the lights, don't pull up in the middle of the lane. That's where all the oil from countless cars ends up. If you don't slip on it when you're taking off, you might find that it sticks to your tires and causes problems at the next corner. Also, try not to stop with your back tire on the white line. That line is a lot more slippery than the bitumen, and once the tire breaks loose, it tends to keep going - especially in the wet.

If you're cruising along next to a car, make sure you're not sitting just back from the drivers window. That's a blind spot, and I've had hundreds of drivers just pull into my lane without seeing me - even though I was almost right beside them. If you need to be next to a car, go past the driver's window, even only for a second, so that they clock the fact that you're there.

Make it a rule that you always change lanes gradually. Even though I've tried to ensure that I always glance back over my shoulder (as well as checking the rear-view mirror), that one rule has saved my life many times. Doing things slowly gives other vehicles a chance to react, or to sound a warning.

There's three useful tips right there. Hopefully they can help someone stay alive.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah Problems

After considerable online research, via YouTube, Harmony Central and other sites, I decided that my wah pedal requirements would be best served by purchasing a Clyde Deluxe wah pedal. My first choice was the Teese picture wah, but these are as rare as hens teeth down here in Oz. I figured that if the Clyde was good enough for Robin Trower, it was certainly good enough for yours truly! Anyway, after laying out the good cold $500 odd cash, I waited eagerly for the dream pedal to arrive. After a few days, there was the package from Global Vintage guitars. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I got home, plugged it in, and couldn't get a sound coming out of it. Yes, yes, I tried everything (not that there's much to try - a wah pedal is very simple), new battery, different leads etc. Global Vintage suggested I send it back and they'd send me another one. After forking out the money for postage and waiting for another month (..goods held up in customs?), the new one finally arrived. Wow, it worked. The only thing was, at certain settings, it picked up the radio, very clearly and loudly. Ah well, thought I, maybe it's just my setup down here in the basement. I didn't notice that behaviour at my first gig with it, but that may have been because of the band volume. It seemed to work perfectly. Then, at rehearsal, I noticed that there seemed to be a scratchy hiss coming from the pedal at certain positions of the rocker. Everyone in the band noticed it. I started thinking, jeez, this pedal's more trouble than it's worth. Swapping the battery did not fix the situation, so I contacted Fulltone support, as I'd done previously when the pedal didn't work at all - 2 months earlier. When the first two emails didn't elicit any response from Fulltone, I sent a third:


This is the third time I have written to you with no reply.

I recently purchased a Fulltone Clyde wah pedal. When I use the pedal, there is a scratchy/crackly sound about halfway through the pedal's movement. The sound is an electronic sound, ie it can't be heard unless the unit is operating through an amplifier.

As I paid a lot of money for this pedal, and I'd like to use it on stage right now, I'd like some support asap. Please don't ignore this email like the last two.


Here is the reply I got:

This is the first email I have seen from you.
I just searched emails back to 2005 and you've NEVER emailed me.

And I don't like your attitude.

You want to try again?

Fulltone Musical Products Inc.
Michael Fuller/President
11018 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

!!! I don't like your attitude!!!

My response:

Well pal, I don't give a damn whether you like my attitude or not. Really, I don't. Got that?

I emailed twice in the last week to and finally to, and now I've received three emails within a few hours. So don't tell me I've NEVER emailed you.

When I first received this Clyde Deluxe wah pedal, it didn't work at all. That was about 4 months ago, and I also emailed you then. The dealer got me to send it back - at my own expense. They sent me another one, and now I've got this new issue.

Your customer support needs work. You rely on us to buy your products, right? You should remember that.

It didn't take long before Mike Fuller sat down and tapped out this little gem:

fuck you

Tsuguto, ignore this fuck until he grows up

Fulltone Musical Products Inc.
Michael Fuller/President
11018 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Nice work, Mike.

Anyway, I took that pedal apart and removed the pot, looking for a way to fix the scratchy sound. Although I didn't do anything to it, when I replaced the pot in the unit, the noise was gone. Let's hope it stays that way.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Scala-rider Q2 with TomTom Rider v2 - pairing problems

Pairing problems. Today, I managed to solve them, somehow. I had previously been able to use the setup quite nicely. Scala-rider headsets communicating with each other, and the main headset communicating with the TomTom Rider, and the TomTom Rider paired with my Nokia 6230. Then, disaster: I made the fatal error of attempting to pair the Rider with my new Nokia E51. Not only did it cause the Rider to repeatedly display a '..connecting to phone..' message, but it also screwed up the Rider/Headset pairing. Attempting to fix the problem only compounded it, so that in the end, I had no connection with the headset at all - even after the phone was removed from the picture.

Today I managed to get the two headsets to pair with each other by a) with each headset switched on, holding down the Ctrl button for about 10 seconds until there was a red/blue flashing light sequence, and b) holding the 'volume up' button for about 5 seconds to delete all pairings. Then I managed to pair the headsets by switching on and holding down both buttons together, until I got the same red/blue flashing with both headsets, which then recognised each other and returned immediately to a slow blue flash. I then tested that we could communicate, and after success, held down the Control button on the main headset until it flashed blue and red, then went through the menus on the TomTom Rider to connect a new headset (motorcycle). I can't believe it finally worked, and I can now hear instructions over the headset. Guess I'll have to wait until I get a new phone for the phone to be available though -the E51 isn't supported, for some inexplicable reason.

PostScript: I had problems with turning on comms manually, so (on advice from Cardo) I reset the pairings by holding down control (with unit turned on) until it flashes red/blue (flashes red first, but persist, keep holding!!), then holding 'Up' audio for 5 seconds. Paired with the other Q2, but then couldn't pair with the TomTom. After about 10 'required features not found' messages, I deleted all pairings again and tried to pair first with the TomTom. Success. I'm now going to pair with the other Q2 again, as per this post at PocketGpsWorld. Halfway down there's an entry by 'Ariel Lifschitz' from CardoSystems support. He states that the order of the pairings is crucial. 
By the way, it didn't fix the comms initiation problem. I still have to yell into the mike to get the comms started. Used to be able to just press 'control' and comms would stay open until I pressed it again. I'm comin' at ya again, Cardo!!!!!! AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

Christ, life's hard sometimes ;)